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Posts tagged ‘Europe’

Facial Recognition At More Airports


Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport is currently testing facial recognition technology made by Portuguese firm Vision-Box. KLM is conducting a three-month trial of facial scanning technology at the Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Passengers must register at a kiosk near the gate to participate by scanning their passports, boarding passes, and, of course, their faces. Three-dimensional facial recognition scans measure dozens of features such as jawline and distance between the eyes.

European citizens with biometric passports can use special “ePassport” gates at major airports to get through border control, such as these in the UK, which are also open to citizens of other countries like the US and Canada who register in advance

In the United States, Global Entry patrons enter via booths that check people’s identities against biometric data. Private biometric screening company Clear also scans a passenger’s fingerprint or iris with speedy lanes available at 20 airports across the US, and Clear says it plans to expand to two others in the coming weeks. Passengers still have to go through security screening but enter through a dedicated aisle. The company said it has 700,000 members.

Moreover, it’s totally legal for a US Customs and Border Patrol officer to ask you to unlock your phone and hand it over to them. And they can detain you indefinitely if you don’t. Even if you’re an American citizen.


Traveling To Europe & Credit Cards


The latest credit card technology is an embedded computer chip. europe and other countries are already using the new chip cards. The main difference between the old cards and the new cards is that the data is static on a magnetic stripe, but changes with every transaction on an embedded chip card. (this is called dynamic authentication).  Chip cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe cards. If a hacker steals the data from a magnetic stripe card, he has all the information necessary to use that card until the theft is discovered. Chip cards, on the other hand, create a unique transaction code every time the card is used, so stolen transaction data is useless. That’s not to say they are completely safe from fraud. But a security breach is far less likely to occur on a chip-enabled card.Chip cards employ EMV technology which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the original developers of the smart chip technology. Many U.S. credit cards already contain an embedded EMV chip. However most of these cards require signature validation, not PIN validation. In part, that’s because to make the full transition to chip-and-PIN cards, merchant card readers all need to be replaced with terminals that can handle the new technology.The goal of EMV technology is to thwart fraud and reduce resulting losses for everyone. To encourage full compliance with the new technology, Visa and MasterCard will shift liability for preventable fraud losses to merchants who don’t install the new machines. When traveling outside the U.S. you should request a chip-and-PIN (not chip-and-signature) card from your bank. In some parts of Europe, the transition to chip-and-PIN readers is nearly complete.

Eventually all U.S. credit cards will be chip-enabled. Current cards will be replaced by chip cards as they expire. The transition, which will take several years. Consumers in the U.S. should be able to pay using either a chip-enabled or a magnetic stripe card. In other parts of the world, however, shoppers may have trouble using a magnetic stripe card, particularly at unmanned kiosks or gas pumps.

The Internet Of Things: A New & Upcoming Trend

According to industry research firm IDC, the IoT market is expected to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020,” said John Maddison, vice president of marketing at Fortinet.

Completed in June 2014, the survey asked 1,801 tech-savvy homeowners questions relating to the Internet of Things as it pertains to the connected home. These were the top findings:

The Connected Home is a reality – A majority (61 percent) of all respondents believe that the connected home (a home in which household appliances and home electronics are seamlessly connected to the Internet) is “extremely likely” to become a reality in the next five years. China led the world in this category with more than 84 percent affirming support.

  • In the U.S., 61 percent said that the connected home is extremely likely to happen in the next five years.

Homeowners are concerned about data breaches – A majority of all respondents voiced their concern that a connected appliance could result in a data breach or exposure of sensitive, personal information. Globally, 69 percent said that they were either “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about this issue.

  • Sixty-eight percent of U.S. respondents said that they were “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned.”

Privacy and trust are concerns – When asked about the privacy of collected data, a majority of global respondents stated, “privacy is important to me, and I do not trust how this type of data may be used.” India led the world with this response at 63 percent.

  • Fifty-seven percent in the U.S. agreed with this statement.
  • Data privacy is an extremely sensitive issue – Respondents were also asked how they would feel if a connected home device was secretly or anonymously collecting information about them and sharing it with others. Most (62 percent) answered “completely violated and extremely angry to the point where I would take action.” The strongest responses came from South Africa, Malaysia and the United States.

Skimmers -Becoming Smaller & Thinner



ATM skimmers have become miniscule and  thinner, with an extended battery life. Several miniaturized fraud devices have been pulled from compromised cash machines at various ATMs in Europe so far this year.

According to a new report from the European ATM Security Team (EAST), a novel form of mini-skimmer was reported by one country. Pictured below is a device designed to capture the data stored on an ATM card’s magnetic stripe as the card is inserted into the machine. Most card skimmers sit directly on top of the existing card slot, the newer mini-skimmers fit snugly inside the card reader throat.  These newer skimmers are difficult to detect.

The card skimmer (left) and the hidden camera, disguised as a panel above the PIN pad. Images: EAST.

Mobile-powered skimmers allow thieves to have the stolen card data relayed via text message, meaning they never need to return to the scene of the crime once the skimmer is in place. MP3-based skimmers capture card data as audio waves that specialized software can later convert into card data.

This wafer-thin overlay skimmer includes a high-quality finish.


ATM skimmers are still a problem in Europe, even though practically all cash machines there only accept cards that include so-called “chip & PIN” technology. Chip & PIN, often called EMV (short for Eurocard, MasterCard and Visa), is designed to make cards far more expensive and complicated for thieves to duplicate.

Regrettably, the United States is the last of the G-20 nations that has yet to transition to chip & PIN, which means most ATM cards issued in Europe have a magnetic stripe on them for backwards compatibility when customers travel to this country. Quite Naturally, ATM hackers in Europe will ship the stolen card data over to thieves here in the U.S., who then can encode the stolen card data onto fresh (chipless) cards and pull cash out of the machines here and in Latin America.

Countries where the ATM EMV rollout has been completed most losses have migrated away from Europe and are mainly seen in the USA, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from ATM skimmers is to cover the PIN pad when you enter your digits.

Silicon Valley Startups Flocking To Dublin


Silicon Valley companies are flocking to Dublin, as their gateway to European and global success.  Business writer Heather Somerville on the website reports; the start-ups don’t qualify for the tax breaks available to multi-nationals simply because they only apply to profits.

Start-ups are following Apple, Intel, Google and Facebook to Europe because it makes good business sense. Somerville reports that these startups are setting up their first overseas offices in the hope that the booming tech city of Dublin will become their launchpad to global success. San Francisco data software start-up New Relic have just made the commitment to Ireland. Chief marketing officer Patrick Moran says “It feels a little bit like a mini-San Francisco. All of our startup friends are there.”

New Relic opened a Dublin office in February and plans to hire about 50 employees at their first office outside the US.Chris Cook, president and chief operating officer at New Relic, added: “Dublin is the launching point for our European strategy and an essential part of our global expansion plans.”

Fellow San Francisco-based companies like Airbnb, cloud software company Zendesk and file storage and sharing startup Dropbox are also new to Dublin.

Yelp  and Survey Money have announced plans to open a 100-person Dublin office.

Mark Harris is chief financial officer of Malwarebytes, an anti-virus software company in San Jose is expected to  open in Ireland next year.

More Here


Worst Countries For Black People to Travel




Russia violence against black and dark skinned people in Russia, raised new fears about the safety of Olympic athletes, visitors and media attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. St. Pete is crawling with skinheads. Inform the American Embassy that you’re there. They have a special unit to deal with threats to American citizens, so you should report anything that happens immediately.


Germany Beware of Skinheads  dark-skinned visitors to Germany should consider avoiding the eastern part of the country where racism runs high. Towns such as  Brandenburg you may not make it out alive. Africans and other dark-skinned people in Berlin, Wisner and other cities know certain areas in the eastern part of Berlin, such as Marzahn and Hellersdorf, are “no-go” areas where they are certain to be attacked or killed


Greece the U.S. Embassy in Greece has warned Americans traveling to Greece to be wary of “a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived as foreign migrants.”



Spain Many Black tourists say they experience racism during visits to Spain. More Here


Italy Black women report a rather high incidence of gawking  A dark-skinned traveler may be questioned longer at border crossings and on trains, and his baggage may be rifled through by officials more often than those of white travelers. At times hotels may tell Black tourists they are full for the night, and then give a room to the next white person who walks through the door. A Black traveler may also be a more frequent victim of ripoffs and scams, which can be true for all foreigners.


Thailand-Thais have an aversion to dark skin in general, and are prejudiced against people of African descent or anyone who has a darker skin tone, even among themselves. Black people frequently face discrimination in the workplace and are targeted for scrutiny from police. According to some travelers, it is legal there to discriminate on the basis of skin color or ethnicity.


China-Many people in China look down upon other Chinese of darker skin, and believe the whiter skin has more beauty. In China, Black people are viewed through stereotypes, and most Chinese assume Blacks are poor, uneducated, violent, play basketball, are barbaric and wild, and even eat each other. The most common Chinese slur used against Black people means “black ghost.”


South Korea- Koreans and visitors explains that racism against Black people stems from a fear of the unknown, since the country  has historically been one of the most ethnically homogeneous nations in the world. Some Koreans will go their entire lives and never see a Black person. Others say Koreans, over time, have adopted whites’ attitudes towards Black people.

Snapshotgown yellow2_001


South America -unless you’re famous

Europe’s Online Games For The Unemployed



— Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. The cities are among 21 finalists vying for millions of euros in a new government-innovation contest was devised by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his foundation announced Wednesday. The finalists come from 11 European countries and include sprawling capitals and modest-sized cities, their climates and cultures as different as those of Stockholm, Sweden, and Barcelona, Spain.

Asked for projects that could solve major social or economic problems or make government more effective, the cities “stepped up with bold and creative ideas,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

After the finalists hone their proposals, winners of a 5 million euro — nearly $7 million — grand prize and four 1 million euro awards will be announced in the fall.

Modeled on a competition that Bloomberg Philanthropies held for U.S. cities last year, the European contest was open to cities of 100,000 or more residents and drew 155 entries.

Several European finalists looked to improve residents’ lives with technology: auditory alerts to help blind people get around Warsaw, Poland; new systems for Londoners to monitor their health; and methods for making energy out of the heat thrown off by Madrid’s underground infrastructure, for example.

Other proposals are more interpersonal. Barcelona aims to make aging less lonely through social networking the old-fashioned way: identifying a team of relatives, friends, social workers and volunteers for each elderly person. Sofia, Bulgaria, suggests dispatching “mobile art units” where local residents could lend a hand to rejuvenating underused public spaces. Kirklees, in England, imagines getting citizens to pool resources ranging from cars to unused space to untapped expertise.

The Welsh city of Cardiff intends to help residents take small steps to be more productive, the Dutch capital of the Hague is proposing to let citizens choose how part of their taxes will be spent, and Stockholm wants to get people producing biochar, an organic, charcoal-like material that can improve soil quality and purify water, among other environmental benefits.


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